Thursday, 23 May 2013

Identifying with a Label

I’ve finished writing my first book. Having worked through the second draft I approached the point where I had to take the next step. I thought I might ask friends or people who love me for feedback first before weighing my options. I could work on it some more, change all of it, burn it and start from scratch on something else or alternatively send it to an agent just as it is, hoping that it would catch someone’s eye. Boy, did it turn out to be a terrifying experience! I melted away at the first hint of criticism, telling myself that all those people were right and that I would never make it. A day of depression ensued, but that’s a topic for another day.

To divert my attention, I did some reading on two successful authors out there, the ones that have “made it”. Their lives are none of my business, but I got some consolation from the fact that they didn’t always seem to have everything together all the time - very often to the contrary. What they did have in common was a persistent desire to be a writer from a very young age. I have long ago come to the conclusion that strong desire was far more powerful in leading to success than doing everything right. Although it was supposed to make me hopeful, in a way it made me despair even more.

I cannot remember ever telling anyone “I want to be a writer” although I have always said that “I want to write”. I am not sure if that indicates weaker desire on my part, since I have wanted to do and be many things. For the last 10 years or so I have wanted to “be a healer” (in different forms according to the phase I was in) perhaps more than anything else. That is also the way I have thought about it, rather than “I want to heal”. Yet it often felt as if the universe was against me in my “quest to become a healer”. In the end trying to find ways to be a healer in the way that I wanted to be one turned out to be very frustrating. I have felt that I was bumping my head against a brick wall with no doors opening for me. I couldn’t understand why the universe wasn’t supporting me if I was trying to work with it, living my purpose. In the end I kind of gave up, or rather surrendered, unsure of whether I still believed in the hand of destiny and spiritual healing. What I have believed for a long time to be my life’s mission ended up causing me suffering rather than fulfilment, which defeated the purpose.

It seems that the universe does have a way of making our deepest desires come true. Reflecting on my likelihood to be successful at anything, I asked myself what I have desired most for longest. Although “being a writer” and being recognised as such would be great, it is much more important to me that my writing brings joy into the world. My thoughts keep returning to healing.

Thinking of “being a healer” is still too painful though. I am not sure if that decreases my likelihood of success, but the moment I start identifying with a label too much, the vision loses its brightness and instead becomes sticky at best and painful at worst. I “want to” be a healer but nobody seems to be interested and I have no clients, which not only makes me doubt my beliefs about destiny, but also makes me a massive failure.

Thinking about it, I realised that I have 84 clients who fell into my lap through the marketing company I work for. Some of them have cancer, have just ended their relationship, have illness in the family or are having a hard time at work. Some of them have other problems which they don’t tell me about. Here I have an opportunity to make a difference by helping them increase their sales (the way the company sees it) or just bringing a cheer to their day in whatever way I can (more important in my eyes). I have had an opportunity right under my nose and yet I have failed to notice because I have been so attached to a label, insistent on having it my way. What the universe has sent me was the chance to make a difference in the best way I can. I have looked past it for such a long time, blinded by resentment at having to serve objectives which weren’t my own.

Today I thank the Universe for knowing what is best for me, bringing my deepest desires to fruition. I have been given the opportunity to live out my highest vision, cleverly disguised so it doesn’t become a drudge because of my preoccupation with my own success. Where I kill my own ambition, the spark that reignites it is always there, coming from the space between something and nothing.